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works of art by Fausto Mauro

About me.

For the longest while I struggled to think of something to write here. It isn’t easy to write about yourself when you’re not a writer and any attempt prior was poor at best. I knew what I didn’t want here. I didn’t want some long-winded, convoluted, platitude filled diatribe with too many words, no facts, no humanity, no connection to my work and total absence of honesty and truth. So here it goes.

Art has always been a joy, a struggle, a close friend and in so many ways a sanctuary. Art has helped me through difficult times, lifted my spirit and balanced out my sense of self-worth, when it was most needed. Art has challenged me well beyond what I ever expected. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning.

Prior to my first year in high school I was like all children, I loved to draw and create and had no misgivings about what I created. I always received adoration and criticism from others in exactly the same way, I didn’t care. High school changed all that and no one expected it, especially me.

Influences

In grade eight, I took art classes and I’m pretty sure I did so not out of interest but because I thought they’d be easy classes that I could cruise through. Yep, I was lazy and had no interest in school from the very beginning and if all of my former teachers were still present and accounted for, they’d all say the same thing, “Why did I have to have that lazy sod in my class all he ever did was stress me out.”

As far as my attitude, that remained the same right until the end of high school, I was always uninterested. I found it boring and a waste of my time. It’s no wonder that I was a really lousy student.  I would spend more time in the library and art studios and less time where I was supposed to be. I’m pretty sure I still hold the record for the least number of English classes attended, 7 out of 47 and still passing, JUST!

My passion for creating art really began when our art teacher, Al Williams, took us to an art show at Studio 2880 in Prince George, BC. The show was a surrealist art show with many artists contributing work. It was at that show, that I had an epiphany. It was at that show, transfixed on some of the art presented, that I told myself this is what I want to do. It was like a connection had been made, like meeting your doppelganger for the first time. From that day forward my life’s trajectory, on a very personal level, changed.

Other Influences

I don’t entirely recollect how I met Gene Bricker, a Prince George Artist, someone that became a close friend in the late 80s and into the 90s. But it’s fair to say in some ways, he opened my eyes to the technical side of painting. Specifically, Gene showed me resources that had a profound influence on developing my skills both in observation and in production. The old adage, you don’t know what you don’t know was a perfect descriptor of me. As a painter without formal art instruction, these resources were invaluable and changed my attitude and thoughts about art creation in a very profound way.

Prior to the early 80s, my work originated from my imagination and not from references, or the real world. I was more reliant on reaction to the process of painting or sculpting and less so, formula or disciplined effort. I was mostly into trying to generate a reaction but didn’t really have the skill necessary to pull it off. I lacked understanding in so many areas.

Gene introduced me to different books by different artists and magazines that provided instruction as well as showcasing some of the world’s most accomplished representational artists. One of the artists was Richard Schmid, who influenced me more than all the others through his Alla Prima books, DVDs and showcase books of his work. Unfortunately, Richard passed before I had the chance to meet him in person,  one of my bucket list items. Other influences included John Carlson, Edgar Payne, Burt Silverman, Henry Hensche, Andrew Loomis Kevin Macpherson, Robert A. Johnson, Daniel Greene and David Leffel.

Life beyond school, work and today

Later in life, after meeting and marrying my beautiful, honest, giving, incredibly supportive and long-suffering wife, Sue, and starting and raising a family with her, I put my best foot forward at being a full time painter. Although, I was doing fine, growing, learning and selling as I went, I found the art world and market to be the least enjoyable and most labor intensive part of being a full time painter. At that time a saturation of offset prints, with some artists making editions of 10,000 or more and having agencies to market and endorse their work, made relying on sales of original work a real struggle.

So being a full time painter didn’t work out for me. I didn’t have the fortitude to stick with it. I was in the wrong geographic location and I still had a great deal to learn. I needed to find another way to earn a living while painting and learning about painting as a hobby and not a vocation.

Because this will in all likelihood be the last stint of my painting career, I want to make it all about painting and not about the pursuit of money, sales or even recognition. I paint because of that original connection back in 1973 and not for any other external reason.

As Richard Schmid so eloquently puts it in his excellent book, Alla Prima, “You are the sum of your choices. Your job then is to make sure that your ideas about what to paint are not wholly based upon either the acceptable or the taboo, but arise instead from what honestly fascinates and stirs you. You may feel vulnerable, but I see no way around that. I assure you it is OK to feel vulnerable— it is, after all, the human condition. In any case, your thoughts (and mine) are just as valid as anyone else’s. Even though you share countless similarities with others, yours are unique. No one has your mind or your feelings. They do not notice what you notice, and do not have precisely the same sensitivities or fears. No one has the same idea of God as you. No one longs to embrace life or ponders death and beyond as you. No one is human in the same way as you are. Once you understand this, your task is to get in touch with yourself. Find out what moves you, what you believe in, what you truly understand about life, who you are, and what this great experience of being alive means to you. Then put it in your paintings!”

I plan to do exactly that, God willing!